As of April 2023, the average credit score in Canada was 762, according to the Fair Issac Corporation, or FICO, a company that calculates credit scores for many credit reporting agencies around the world.
Knowing your credit score and how close it is to the average can help you be more prepared to apply for financial products.
Understanding your credit score
A credit score is a three-digit number that can be as low as 300 or as high as 900.
Using financial data collected by Canada’s two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, along with complex algorithms and scoring models, credit scoring companies are able to assign you a credit score. This number serves as an important tool for financial companies to assess whether to approve you for a loan or line of credit.
Your credit score is an important part of your overall financial health because it impacts interest rates you’ll pay and your overall access to credit. This three-digit number can even impact your ability to get a job or rent an apartment.
In general, the higher your score, the more likely you’ll be to be offered competitive rates and a wider variety of financial products.
National average credit scores in Canada
In an April 2023 blog post, FICO reported that the average credit score in Canada was 762.
Other than the passage of time and different sample sizes, the disparity may be due to the fact credit bureaus may include different information in their reports, and each credit scoring company uses a slightly different model to calculate credit scores.
But what do these three-digit numbers actually mean? Credit scores are generally described using the following ranges:
- 300 to 574: Very Poor
- 575 to 659: Below Average or Poor
- 660 to 712: Average or Fair
- 713 to 740: Good or Very Good
- 741 to 900: Excellent or Exceptional
Average Credit Score by Age in Canada
Knowing average credit scores across different age groups can provide valuable insights into financial behaviors and creditworthiness. As an example, here are some average scores by age reported by Equifax in 2018.
According to this data, scores tend to be higher for older Canadians. This makes sense, as younger Canadians typically don’t have as much credit history or experience paying back debt, which is an important factor in calculating a credit score.
- Young Adults (18-25): 692
- Adults (26-35): 697
- Middle-Aged Adults (36-45): 710
- Pre-Retirement Age (46-65): 718
- Seniors (65+): 750
Average Credit Score by Province in Canada
Here are some of the average scores for some of Canada’s provinces and major cities, based on data collected by Borrowell in 2022.
- Ontario: 686
- Toronto: 696
- British Columbia: 694
- Vancouver: 705
- Alberta: 658
- Calgary: 667
- Quebec: 678
- Montreal: 687
- Other Provinces:
- New Brunswick: 649
- Nova Scotia: 664
- Saskatchewan: 658
- Manitoba: 661
How does your credit score compare to the average?
Knowing how your credit score compares to the Canadian average can help you evaluate your overall financial health and how creditworthy you might appear to creditors.
An above-average score may suggest that you’ve had very few financial bumps in the road, you’re skilled at managing your finances and you’re eligible for the best credit cards, lending terms and financial opportunities.
On the other hand, a below-average score might signal that you’ve not had much time to build a credit history in Canada, or you’ve suffered financial hardships that made it difficult to manage your debt. This is a signal that you might have trouble qualifying for some forms of credit, like credit card or a mortgage. Consider taking a close look at what’s in your credit report and to start taking steps to build or rebuild your credit score, if you can.
How to check your credit score
In Canada, there are a variety of ways to check your credit score and credit report.
Under the Canadian Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to access your credit report from Canada’s credit bureaus for free at least once a year. You can access your report online, via mail, in-person or by phone.
A credit report is not the same as a three-digit credit score, however.
Equifax says it provides access to its credit scores for free to anyone who signs up for an online account, but TransUnion only provides free credit scores to residents of Quebec.
Each credit reporting agency also offers paid subscription services that offer more frequent access to your credit score, as well as additional features like credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
Other companies, like Borrowell and ClearScore, also can also give you access to Equifax and TransUnion credit scores, but it may require signing up for an account or paying for a subscription.
Some banks. like RBC, also provide free credit scores as a perk to their customers.
How often to check your credit score
The Canadian government has legislation that allows Canadians to access their credit files for free once a year, which would suggest that, at a minimum, a yearly check on the state of your credit would be wise.
Some companies, like Borrowell, claim to update your credit score information weekly, whereas Equifax touts daily credit score updates with its for-fee credit monitoring subscriptions.
How often you ought to check your score depends on how closely you’re monitoring your creditworthiness. If you are trying to boost your score so that you can apply for a credit card or are recovering from a credit fraud incident, it may be wise to check your score more frequently.
What to do if your score is lower than you want it to be
If you want to improve your credit score, the best way to do so is to focus on the five factors that credit bureaus mainly monitor: payment history, credit utilization, credit history, credit mix and hard credit inquiries. The most basic way to build a stronger credit score is to make all of your debt payments on time and to keep your total debt as low possible.
If you’ve had a life event, such as a job loss, medical debt or bankruptcy that negatively impacts your score, consider seeking help from a reputable credit counselling service. These organizations not only offer advice and tips about how to better manage your credit, but they can even set up a debt management plan that could help you stay on top of your payments and work towards repairing a poor credit score.
Erik Franco, FICO, “Average Canadian FICO® Score Holds Steady at 762,” accessed January 29, 2024.
Rachel Surman, “What is the Average Canadian Credit Score?,” accessed February 14, 2024.
Equifax Canada, “Millennials Optimistic about their Financial Future,” accessed January 26, 2024.
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